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Theresa May to visit new US president Donald Trump next week

Theresa May will be the first foreign leader to visit Donald Trump when she travels to the United States next week, the White House has confirmed.

The visit represents a coup for the Prime Minister after an uncertain start to relations with the president following his shock election in November.

The visit will follow a weekend in which hundreds of thousands of people in the US, UK and around the world joined women's marches to protest against the controversial tycoon's presidency.

It was unclear whether Mrs May would be meeting Mr Trump on Thursday or Friday after White House press secretary Sean Spicer told a news conference in the West Wing: "The president will welcome his first foreign leader this Thursday when the United Kingdom's Theresa May will come to Washington on Friday."

On Saturday, massive "pink pussy hat" marches in Washington DC and London highlighted Mr Trump's highly controversial past statements about women.

At least 500,000 people gathered for a rally outside the US Capitol building while organisers said an estimated 100,000 people descended on central London, as similar events were staged in Edinburgh, Bristol and cities across the US.

Mrs May has promised to be "very frank" during talks, making clear she has found some of the president's comments "unacceptable", including his suggestion that his fame allowed him to "do anything" to women, such as "grabbing them by the pussy".

And she has distanced herself from suggestions the pair could rekindle the Reagan-Thatcher bond of the 1980s, saying she does not want to emulate models from the past.

The premier is "confident" of striking a trade agreement with Mr Trump despite his "America first" strategy sparking concerns in the UK about his willingness to to a deal.

But Mrs May has suggested the UK and US could reduce barriers to trade before being able to sign a formal agreement after Brexit, with a new passporting system to govern transatlantic bank trade reportedly being considered.

Mrs May is likely to emphasise the importance of Nato and the EU for collective security and defence after Mr Trump again worried some observers about his commitment to both organisations.

The Telegraph reported that the pair could agree a statement emphasising their commitment to spending at least 2% of GDP on defence and urging other Nato countries to do so, as well as promising action against Islamic State terrorists.

It is likely that Mrs May's trip to the US will be followed by a state visit by Mr Trump to Britain, which would include an audience with the Queen and the pomp and pageantry of which the president seems so fond.

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